Human Rights Watch: Public uproar as church woman violently swings baby upside down like a doll in Bongo District

The incident has aroused public uproar and clamour for arrests

Viewer discretion is advised to watch a video Media Without Borders has received and published herein showing a live baby being treated like a hand puppet at a ‘spiritual’ church said to be situated in Bongo, a district in Ghana’s Upper East Region.

A woman, wearing a blue dress and a headscarf of the same colour with a white waistband, is seen in the video hanging the baby upside down and vigorously swinging it in all directions.

But it looks like a normal practice in that denomination as nobody seems to be paying attention to how the baby was being handled violently like a lifeless object.

The manhandling of the baby has sparked public calls for arrests

The other members of the church were only focused on singing and dancing as the woman dangled the baby like a maraca (a percussion instrument) she picked from the church’s choir storeroom for the worship songs.

The recording captures only two minutes and twenty-eight seconds portion of the action. As the clip does not show the beginning and the end of the act, the voiceless baby must have been at her mercy for a longer period under the watch— and, perhaps, also with the approval— of the other congregants.

“This is how a church located at Balungu in our district subjects newborn babies to inhumane conditions,” remarked an angry resident.

The woman is yet to be identified.

“I would like to call on the opinion leaders, chiefs and the assembly men and women to stand up against this inhumane and demonic activities going on in some of the so-called spiritual churches in our communities,” he added.

Another resident cried out: “Inside Bongo Balungu, just in the name of ushering a newborn baby to God. Are we serious as Africans?”

Assembly Member reveals name of church and reason behind action

When Media Without Borders contacted the Assembly Member for Balungu, Edward Asekere, on Friday, 7 July 2023, on the incident, he revealed the name of the church as “Jesus Kantanma Yoke Spanner Church”.

The pastor of the church, he added, told him when he interrogated him on the action that it was a spiritual rite the church often performed to fortify babies.

The condition of the baby is yet to be ascertained after going through this treatment.

“When I saw the thing, I became sad about the whole thing because this is an innocent child. Look at the manner in which the child was being swung. Assuming the child had fallen, what would have happened to the child? And this is what we have seen; we don’t know what has happened before this. And it’s possible that it’s not even just happening in that church alone but other churches as well within the community.

“So, it’s something that everybody is worried about. A lot of people. Go to our community’s social media platform. Everybody is condemning it. People are even calling for his (the pastor’s) arrest. I intend to meet with him and the church people this morning. Yesterday, I called him. And he admitted. He said it had been happening in his church. And it’s like he never showed any remorse. It’s like a tradition. For anybody who gives birth in the church, he has to do that,” he said.

The Assembly Member for Balungu, Edward Asekere.

The Assembly Member added: “So, I asked him the rationale behind it. He said he does that to fortify the babies so that the child would be protected against [evil]. It’s something that is very, very worrying. Look at what has happened. It’s not giving the community a good name. It’s a bad name. So, I’m not happy about it as a leader. I will be talking to other opinion leaders to see how the matter can be resolved so that what has happened will not repeat itself.”

Listen to the voice of the Assembly Member for Balungu, Edward Asekere, on the incident.

Watch the video of the action below.

The Assembly Member for Anafobisi, Albert Akanmiim Agariga, told Media Without Borders Friday he would lead the Gender Sub-commitee of the Bongo District Assembly, social welfare officers and police to visit the church today.

Meanwhile, Media Without Borders learns the District Police Command in Bongo has invited the pastor of the church for questioning.

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


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